I don't often post bits of my writing here, but I thought after last weeks depressing story we needed something fictional and light. Below is a snippet of a story (still a work in progress) called Crystal Paths. I hope you enjoy it :)
Caroline looked up as the bells above her shop door chimed. The figure in the doorway stepped inside and blinked against the gloom. She cast a practised eye over her potential client. Tall, dark haired and quite good looking, but there was an air of insecurity about him, in the way he held his shoulders and flicked his eyes nervously.
“Good afternoon. How can I help you?” she asked cheerily.
“Are you the lady who tells… fortunes?” His deep voice was hesitant.
She shook her head, ringlets bumping her cheeks. “I don’t predict the future, I see possibilities. The future’s not set in stone. We choose our own path at every fork in the road. ”
“What do you do, look into a crystal ball?” His voice took on a subtly sceptical tone.
“Yes.” The bluntness of her reply, as well as its content, clearly startled him.
She crossed her arms and forced herself to keep the annoyance of her face. It irked her when people came to her looking for answers, but treated her like a fraud. Either they believed or they didn’t. If they didn’t she wished they would take their incredulous attitude elsewhere.
“Umm…” His hesitancy returned. “Would you look and see what it shows for me?”
She took a deep breath and smiled, although she wasn’t sure if it reached her eyes. “Certainly. My charges are on the wall. I will shut the shop then we can start.”
He shuffled his feet as she made her way around the counter and over to the door. A faint scent of bourbon tickled her nose as she passed him. She darted a glance under lashes. His eyes and skin were clear, he wasn’t drunk. Nonetheless, for the smell to be in his clothes and pores, didn’t bode well.
What would her crystal ball show her of the path that brought him here, and the places he could go when he stepped out her shop? She flicked her sign to closed and latched the door.
The sooner they started, the sooner she’d know. She set off towards the back of the shop and gestured for him to follow. “This way please.”
She wound her way past shelves filled with scented candles, tarot cards, and other knickknacks, then stepped into a small room at the very back of the shop. The smell of old incense lingered amongst the brightly coloured fabrics decorating the room.
She’d set up this room up shortly after she opened her business. She’d wanted people to be comfortable—seeing what they expected to see. She frowned as a tassel brushed her shoulder. Lately the bright colours, fringes and fabrics seemed jarring and tacky. She pushed away the need to redecorate as her client entered the room on her heels. She had a mystery to solve.
She settled herself behind a small table and slid a soft blue cloth off her crystal ball.
“Please sit.” She gestured to a chair when the man hovered in the doorway.
He hesitated for a moment, then straightened his shoulders and hurried over. Pulling out the chair roughly, he sat with a thump. His gaze leaving the crystal ball briefly to look at her face, then returning to the device that might be his window into the future.
“I need you to touch the ball with the ring finger of your left hand. I can’t direct what the ball shows me, but if there is anything in particular you’d like help with hold that in your mind.” She smiled reassuringly. “Are you ready?”
He nodded, then cleared his throat. “Yes, yes I’m ready.” His head lowered as he concentrated on placing his finger on the ball.
Caroline took a deep breath, then another, concentrating on bringing her breathing into a slow deep pattern. When a core of light burned brightly in her mind, she cupped her hands palms up above the surface of the ball and started to chant. The words were gibberish but people expected her to say something. Over the years she’d found they made a nice mantra for focusing her attention.
As the light inside her burned hotter, she slowly tipped her hands as if she were pouring the contents of her cupped hands over the surface of the ball. The polished crystal started to glow gently.
Across from her she, he started, pulling back slightly. Ignoring him, she gently moved her hands down until they virtually touched the surface of the ball. Bringing her head closer she gazed into its glowing depths.
The light started to clear. It was as if she were watching the parting of clouds.